Each of Paul’s concerts is a unique experience. At least, this is what I have always been told by who was so lucky to go to one of his concerts.
Still, the concert on December 16, 2018 in London is even more unique and will probably be so forever.
I had never seen Paul, for several reasons I could never get the chance. But last year I decided that 2018 would be the year I’d see Paul.
That’s why as soon as Paul announced three gigs in the UK, I decided to go and not to wait for a possible date in my country, Italy.
You may have known about the incredible process to follow in order to try and buy tickets.
Now imagine you’re lucky enough to complete the registration on Paul’s website, imagine you’re also so lucky to be chosen and have the possibility to try and buy the tickets only for London’s gig. Let’s imagine to be afraid and anxious that even this time everything would be useless.
But no, luck wanted me to get tickets to Paul’s concert. Choosing the seats was absolutely randomly, I tried to be quite close to the stage but I had absolutely no idea what the view would be.
The months pass and finally, finally, the time has come. The O2 Arena is an incredible and scary place, it’s so huge that you feel like a small insignificant dot.
The first big surprise was seeing how close our seats were to the stage. On the left of the stage, a few, very few rows away. The closer I got to the stage, the more we couldn’t believe how close we were. We also asked for confirmation to our “neighbours”.
The second incredible surprise came totally unexpected. We were sitting, quietly waiting for the concert to begin. I was looking at the immensity of the arena, my friend was checking her phone, when I saw beyond the barrier below us a lady, looking very similar to Barbara Bach. “Whoa, look, that woman looks like Barbara Bach”. And that guy behind her looked like Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones and… The one in front of him looked like… Ringo Starr. Ringo. Starr.
The moment I realize that not only they looked like, but they were really them, I jumped on my feet and started to tug on my friend, “There’s Ringo, look, it’s Ringooo, omg, Ringooo!”
I had seen Ringo during the summer in Italy and it had been absolutely fantastic, but when you find him there, at Paul’s concert, well, your mind starts immediately to imagine a damn duet between the two Beatles. You just feel anxious, thinking you’re about to see the two living Beatles playing together again.
Trembling because of what is going to happen, we sit down and then… Well then the concert starts.
And guys, Paul literally passes us by and he’s a dream, a real dream. He can be 76 years, but he jumps on the stage as if he was 20. For three hours. THREE HOURS! Younger artist can only dream to do such things. And he plays any kind of instrument, from the piano, to the guitar, to the bass, of course, to the mandolin and the ukulele. Is there anything this man can’t do?
His voice isn’t the best, that hurts. You can feel he would like to give the best of himself, perfectionist as he is, but it’s a battle that he cannot win. Despite this, his voice doesn’t give up, just as he did his whole life.
Paul is a real entertainer. He talks a lot with his audience, sentimental as he is, he tells some stories about the songs. The most nostalgic ones, those concerning the Beatles and John, just break your heart, but it’s a sweet feeling that makes you take a breath in those three hours of pure adrenaline.
And then he jokes, a lot, he made me laugh so much. For example, he told that while he is singing, he forces himself not to read the signs the fans bring, otherwise he would forget the lyrics. Also after Live and let die, with all the shots and fire, he made a sign that his heart and his head can no longer stand all those effects. Of course you can, Paul! < 3
The setlist is amazing, it went from the Beatles, to Wings, and to his solo career. There are some small goodies, like the first song the Beatles recorded, In spite of all the danger, or Wonderful Christmastime, which we expected, given the Christmas time.
The tribute to George, Something, is a very sweet moment, Paul plays it with the ukulele George gave him, who had a collection. When Paul picks up the ukulele, the audience already knows what will happen.
The tribute to John is much more heartbreaking. Paul introduces the song with the usual advice: if you want to say something to someone, do it now, before it’s too late. Then he plays Here today on guitar, in a position that rises more and more towards the sky, as much as possible, as if Paul wanted to reach John wherever he is now. As much as I have heard this song a thousand times, surely this is one of the most moving moments of the concert. And you can just feel it from how the audience listens almost in religious silence, as if it knew the importance of this moment and this song to Paul. In fact Paul at the end of the song sighs and says, “Yes, sometimes, it’s a bit emotional.”
The main set ends with Hey Jude sung by everybody, and the endless na na na. Experiencing it personally is just amazing.
The encore finally begins with Birthday and continues with the epic moment of the concert. Obviously after waiting for it right from the start, the time has come for Ringo and Ronnie, who join Paul on the stage to sing Get back. And well, we can say that we saw sort of a reunion of the last two living Beatles. Our heart was full of happiness. One cannot explain what we saw, a mixture of joy and disbelief clouded our mind. It has been an absolutely amazing moment.
A word for the band that play for Paul, they’re all very talented. The drummer, Abe, at one point stole Paul ‘s attention with his hilarious ballet.
The last big surprise was the strategic importance of our seats. All the concert famous people passed by our side, including the great Emma Thompson, and the whole McCartney family that was literally a couple of rows behind us: his wife Nancy, his daughters Mary and Stella, and the grandchildren. We just had to turn our heads and they were right there, in front of us.
We were very lucky. And this is something I will never see again, that is for sure. It was a great experience, it’s the concert of a lifetime. This is the only thing that must be said of this concert. Something like this won’t happen any more. Who was there was really, really lucky.
– Article and photos by Chiara.